Cricket to the rescue

- November 4, 2022

A child’s whim of having his own cricket ground turned into a reality where adults, today, arrive to play to beat the stress of a mundane corporate life.

Enthusiastic players take their positions on the field. (All photos: Faisal Malik)

While open grounds are fast disappearing due to rapid industrialisation, along with expansion of urban spaces, they are still the only window of escape from a hectic corporate life.

Life in metropolitan cities is infamous for its fast pace and for many it becomes challenging to survive when everyone is vying for business amid traffic jams, pollution wreaking havoc. Therefore, a search for peace begins. Often it is found in the middle of the city – in an open space where office-goers sweat it out in the game of cricket.

Also read: He fights for the country, but his struggles are his own

In India, cricket is a matter of emotional attachment for the majority of people. When life is stuck in the middle of a 9-5 race, on weekends, many seek peace in cricket grounds. Patriot visits cricket grounds in Greater Noida, when players make their way to the ground during the first ray of sunlight.

A child’s wish, a father’s command

Kamal Sharma, the Co-founder of MCG Cricket Ground, began narrating the story behind its name. “In 2018, my son was going to the cricket academy after he joined there for training, however, he was not getting the chance to practice in nets. So, one day, he returned home and said that he doesn’t want to go back to the academy again. When I asked him how could we solve the problem, he said that it could only be solved if we had our own ground. “That will be great for my career,” he said.

Kamal Sharma

“Therefore, we checked this place out as my son studies just opposite this ground. It was named after my son entered the ground. He said, ‘Wow, mera cricket ground (my cricket ground)!’ I also liked its abbreviation MCG. My son’s name is Arnab,” he expressed.

We started in March 2019, but unfortunately, on 23 March, 2022, coronavirus lockdown was enforced. Then we kicked off the league in October that year. Most of the teams are from the corporate sector who play here on weekends. Among amenities, here we provide refreshment, DRS and Live streaming through the app. Besides this, we give four awards per match.

Escape from a newsroom

When a match started, Ankush Sharma, a journalist and one of the opener batsmen returned to the pavilion after being caught on the leg side.

“We are working throughout the week, only on weekends we get the time to play. We play cricket on weekends just for enjoyment and fitness,” he said.

Away from the concrete jungle

“Sports is a great stress relief. I would suggest those who are suffering from depression should play some form of sports,” he added.

As the day progressed, the game turned intense. The batting side lost four wickets on 24 runs, but there was no change in the enthusiasm among players.

Corporate to cricket

Padded up and all set to go for batting, Rahul Badyal, who works in the corporate sector as Manager, said, “Sports is very important because what we are going through everyday is corporate life. We are used to waking up in the morning, get ready and going to the office. But what gives you peace is what is inside you. In India, there is a cricketer hidden inside everyone. This is the life where you get peace.”

“On weekends, we play cricket because throughout the week we endure corporate life. But on weekends we live a life we seek. Rest, we are barely surviving. Everyone in India has a dream to become a cricketer. Dhoni, Tendulkar, Dravid – anyone can be a role model for us. But due to some personal reasons, we couldn’t get the chance to become cricketers. We work in the corporate world, but live in the field where we play cricket on weekends. We feel good and relieved from the stress. I am working night shifts. I came here after my shift to play cricket just because I don’t want to miss this life. I am earning from Monday to Friday to live this life,” he said.

Co-founder Kundan

Meanwhile, Kundan, Co-Founder of MCG said, “In total, we have four grounds under the name of MCG. I am looking after two grounds and my partner taking care of the other two. We have 16 people as employees, umpires, scorers, ground staff. This is like a passion! People play here from morning to evening for fun and passion. We are getting good responses here.”

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